Posts Tagged ‘launch’

Another day another update…

May 11, 2009

More news from the launch site:

– Fairing integration successfully performed on Sunday, 10th May 2009.
– Tank conditions at fairing integration: filling level: 96.6 %; tank
temperature: 1.638 K
– Shield flushing continues through small holes in the fairing until a
few hours prior to launcher roll out.
– Launcher roll-out to launch pad on Wednesday, 13th May 2009 @11:40
(UTC) = 8:40 Kourou-time.
– Herschel / Planck Launch on Thursday, 14 May 2009 @13:12 (UTC) = 10:12
Kourou-time

This means that the nose cone is on the rocket with Herschel and Planck safely inside. Another milestone reached on the way to launch!

Herschel on BBC Radio 4: The Material World

May 5, 2009

I’ll be interviewed about Herschel on ‘The Material World’ on BBC Radio 4 at 4:30pm (UK time) this coming Thursday. The programme will also be available on Listen Again for the subsequent week.

Prof George Efstathiou from Cambridge will be talking about Planck on the same programme.

Counting down…

April 15, 2009

Herschel was fueled with hydrazine over the Easter weekend and it has now been mated with the rocket payload adaptor. It’s now being topped up with liquid helium and the helium is being pumped on to turn it into superfluid helium-II.

These are all things you only do when you’re very sure you’re going to launch. Among other things hydrazine is a really nasty chemical which you don’t mess with if you can possibly avoid it.

May 6th launch is thus looking pretty solid…

It must be Friday 13th…

March 13, 2009

As Brian has already posted, we have a launch delay on Herschel (and Planck). Problems always come up when these things are put together so it’s not entirely unexpected. The important thing, though, is that this is only a delay of 2 weeks and the problem that’s arisen is nothing to do with the satellites. We haven’t been sent the details yet but are told that it is something to do with the ‘ground segment’ ie. with what happens to the data once it’s been sent down to the ground. This is a lot easier to fix – this is reflected in the short delay – and the satellites are fine.

We just have to chew our nails a little bit longer.